Lying and stepping behaviors around corrective or therapeutic claw trimming. Academic Article uri icon


  • The objectives of this study were to test differences in lying and stepping behaviors in lactating cows with altered gait or other signs of pain in the day preceding either corrective claw trimming (CCT) or therapeutic claw trimming (TCT; d -1), including healthy controls (HC) as a reference group, and to analyze the associations between categories of lying and stepping behaviors at d -1 and subsequent submission to CCT or TCT (d 0). In addition, we characterized variations in lying and stepping behaviors within 7 d relative to CCT or treatment for a specific foot condition (TCT). A total of 310 Holstein cows in a USDA-certified organic dairy herd in northern Colorado were enrolled. Cows were affixed with an accelerometer (IceQube, IceRobotics) below the fetlock of one hind leg at 12 8 d in milk and monitored for 6 mo for daily activity [lying time (LY; min/d), lying bouts (LB; no./d), and steps (ST; no./d)]. Cows with altered gait or other signs of pain were submitted to claw trimming (CT; d 0) and differentiated as receiving only corrective interventions (CCT) or as being treated for a lameness disorder (TCT). Concurrent activity from cows not submitted to CT was considered a reference from HC. Daily averages for each activity within 7 d relative to CT were compared among the 3 groups using linear mixed models (PROC MIXED of SAS; SAS Institute Inc.). Logistic regression analyses with a logit link function (PROC GLIMMIX of SAS) were used to test the associations between categories (lower quartile or less, interquartile range, and higher quartile or greater) of lying and stepping behaviors (LY, LB, and ST) preceding CT (d -1) and subsequent submission to CCT or TCT (d 0). On d -1, average ( standard error) LY was greater in TCT (631 34 min/d) than in CCT (568 22 min/d) and HC (581 13 min/d). Overall, LB were not statistically different among groups (CCT = 18.7 0.02 bouts/d; TCT = 19.6 1.17 bouts/d; and HC = 19.1 0.43 bouts/d). Daily ST were lower in TCT (1,810 126 steps/d) than in CCT (2,803 63 steps/d) and HC (2,542 103 steps/d). The odds (confidence interval in parentheses) of TCT were greater in cows in the high LY [3.27 (2.47-4.33)] and high LB [2.31 (1.77-3.02)] categories at d -1. The low ST category was associated with increased odds of CCT [3.32 (1.96-5.65)] and TCT [8.48 (6.49-11.1)]. We concluded that, under the current experimental conditions, cows requiring TCT evidenced greater overall LY and lower daily ST the day before CT. However, these differences were not consistent throughout days in milk categories within the lactation. Type of CT was partially associated with category of activity the day preceding CT, and the associations were more evident for TCT. The magnitude of the behavioral changes before and after CT and the recovery times posttreatment to approach HC behavioral levels varied depending on specific conditions.

published proceedings

  • JDS Commun

author list (cited authors)

  • Paudyal, S., Lombard, J. E., Melendez, P., Roman-Muniz, I. N., Callan, R. J., Maunsell, F., & Pinedo, P.

complete list of authors

  • Paudyal, S||Lombard, JE||Melendez, P||Roman-Muniz, IN||Callan, RJ||Maunsell, F||Pinedo, P

publication date

  • January 1, 2021 11:11 AM